NBA Notes: Nets, Celts reportedly pull off blockbuster


NBA Notes: Nets, Celts reportedly pull off blockbuster

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets and Celtics have agreed to a blockbuster deal that sends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.

Jason Terry will also head from the Celtics to the Nets in the trade.

Wojnarowski reports that the package moving from Brooklyn to Boston contains Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, Reggie Evans and three first-round picks (2014, 2016 and 2018). The Nets will also do a sign-and-trade involving guard Keith Bogans.

Garnett waived his no-trade clause to get the deal completed.

The trade can not become official until July 10, when the league's salary cap is set for next season.

Looking to start from scratch, the Celtics will benefit from obtaining three future first-round picks. The Nets, under the ownership of Mikhail Prokhorov, have looked to make flashy moves, and acquiring Garnett, Pierce and Terry certainly falls under that banner. 

Lakers: Howard unlikely to return to L.A.
Despite the Lakers' pleas to keep Dwight Howard with giant signs outside Staples Center, it appears as if the enigmatic center may not be keen on returning.

Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is leaning towards bolting from Los Angeles, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

Broussard reported Thursday that the Lakers have little chance of re-signing Howard, primarily due to his frustration with Mike D'Antoni's system.  Broussard also reports that Houston and Dallas remain the favorites for Howard's services next season.

Howard played 76 games this season for the Lakers, averaging 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds in 35.8 minutes per game. The Lakers acquired the seven-time All-Star in a four-team deal last offseason involving the Denver Nuggets, Sixers, and Orlando Magic. 

Despite the hype that surrounded Howard's arrival in L.A., the Lakers went 45-37 and were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs.

Blazers: Aldridge reportedly wants out
According to Jason Quick of the Oregonian (via ProBasketball Talk), LaMarcus Aldridge wants out of Portland because it's too small and too boring.

While Quick says he believes Portland GM Neil Olshey doesn't want to move the power forward, there remains a belief that Olshey is in a precarious situation with the potential of Aldridge walking in the summer of 2015.

Aldridge averaged 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds last season in 37.7 minutes per game. But despite his success, Portland still missed the playoffs falling 12 games back of the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets.

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since reaggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.